The Washington Post’s Al Kamen reports this morning that John Berry, director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoological Park, has accepted an offer by President-elect Barack Obama to become director of the Office of Personnel Management.
Berry previously served as executive director of the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, a congressionally chartered nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of the nation’s wildlife, and before that, as assistant secretary of the Interior Department for management. In the mid-1990s he directed government relations for the Smithsonian and, between 1985 and 1994, served as legislative director for Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md.
Among the first to welcome the news was the president of the National Treasury Employees Union, Colleen Kelley. In a statement released today, the union leader hailed Berry as someone who will “help return respect to the federal work force and help attract the best and the brightest to public service.” Kelley said she worked with Berry while he was an aide to Hoyer in the creation of the 1990 Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act, which created locality pay rates and customized pay scales for specialized groups of federal employees, such as administrative law judges and certain law enforcement officials.
What do you think of the choice of Berry as OPM director? What will be his biggest challenges?